The year 2018 was very, very exciting for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In May, of course, they married in a wedding ceremony watched by millions. Then came a period of adjustment to their lives as newlyweds, with the world observing Meghan, the new royal, settling down into her role. And after that, just as the pair kicked off a tour, there came another thrilling announcement from the palace.
Back before all of this, however, royal family fans had simply delighted in the romance between Harry and Meghan. He’d been one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, after all, and she is a beautiful American with a background in activism and acting. So when the pair finally announced their engagement in November 2017, many were overjoyed to see the celebratory photos taken in the gardens of Kensington Palace.
The wedding took place in May 2018 and was the social event of the year. Several A-list celebrities were among the guests, including Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams, Priyanka Chopra and more. And during the ceremony, Meghan walked down the aisle on the arm of Prince Charles, as her own father couldn’t attend due to a heart operation.
After the wedding, of course, people started to wonder whether Meghan would get pregnant straight away. Yet it almost seemed like the couple were too busy to even consider starting a family. The whole of 2018 was jam-packed with royal events, after all. These included the 70th birthday of Prince Charles, the christening of Prince Louis and the wedding of Princess Eugenie, to name just a few.
At Eugenie’s wedding, however, sharp-eyed royal fans noticed Meghan’s outfit and instantly began speculating. She had on a loose-fitting Givenchy navy coat that, people said, would easily hide a give-away bump. And even more tellingly for fans, she didn’t take it off – even when it would have been appropriate for her to do so.
People wondered, could Meghan possibly be pregnant? Well, it turned out… that she very much was. An official statement came just as the royal pair headed off for a tour of Australia. The social media accounts of Kensington Palace, which has millions of followers worldwide, revealed the exciting news on October 15, 2018.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019,” read the announcement. “Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”
The story was instantly front-page news, and world leaders lined up to deliver their congratulations. They included the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who sent out a tweet reading, “What fantastic news! Australia is thrilled for you both. Looking forward to sharing in the joy during your stay down under.”
And Australia did indeed seem thrilled to be the first country to host the expecting couple. Just hours after the pregnancy announcement, for instance, Meghan and Harry received their first gifts for the baby. Yes, Governor General Peter Cosgrove, along with Lady Lynne Cosgrove, presented them with a pair of Ugg baby boots and a toy kangaroo for the little royal.
As Harry and Meghan enjoyed Australia, though, debates kicked off on the internet and beyond about what the baby’s gender and name could be. Even a “psychic cat” got in on the action on British television and decided it would be a girl. Meanwhile, betting shops offered 10/11 odds of the baby being a boy.
Bookmakers also made estimations on what the baby’s name would be. James, Arthur and Edward – all names associated with British monarchy – were the front-runners for a boy. For a girl, the primary guess was Diana, after the prince’s late mother. Even Elizabeth, after the current Queen, could seemingly be a possibility.
There’s a chance that Harry and Meghan may not actually know the gender of their baby yet, however. The day after the announcement, in fact, the prince hinted at as much in a speech at a reception in Sydney. “Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome and the chance to meet so many Aussies from all walks of life,” he said. “And we also genuinely couldn’t think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby, whether it’s a boy or a girl, so thank you very, very much.”
Kensington Palace’s full statement about the new baby continued, “The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted for the couple and were able to congratulate them on Friday at the wedding in person,” referring to the marriage of Princess Eugenie. But this little tidbit certainly seemed to raise a few eyebrows.
Had Meghan and Harry, in fact, announced their pregnancy at somebody else’s wedding? That would be a considerable faux pas if so. Celebrity gossip website Radar Online claimed that that had indeed been the case – and that Eugenie had been furious. However, the Daily Express disputed this, saying that the royal family, including the bride-to-be, knew beforehand.
Some questions about Meghan’s side of the family also came up in the wake of the announcement. The palace made reference to her mother in its statement, saying, “Ms. Doria Ragland is very happy about the lovely news, and she looks forward to welcoming her first grandchild.” No mention was made of her father, Thomas Markle, or her half-siblings, though.
Meghan’s half-sister Samantha, who has frequently spoken out about her relationship with her sibling, spoke to The Sun about her father not appearing in the statement too. “I would hope — for the sake of the baby and my dad — that leaving him out of the statement was not intentional,” she said.
“I hope my dad is included and at a proper time. If he is excluded, I won’t be happy. It is in the best interests of the baby for my dad to be included,” Samantha went on. But it seems that the couple hadn’t forgotten Thomas, after all. A source “close to him” apparently told The Sun that “he thinks Meghan will make a great mom.”
Meghan and Harry nevertheless enjoyed themselves on their tour of Australia. As you would expect, they were overwhelmed with well-wishes. While visiting Dubbo, New South Wales, for instance, the royal couple made a detour to greet a group of young children. Then one of the kids decided to give the expecting mom-to-be a stuffed cow. “Can we put this in the nursery?” she asked him.
There were a few concerns about the next leg of the tour, however. That’s because Meghan and Harry were set to visit Tonga and Fiji, where the Zika virus is present. The advice is actually that pregnant women should not visit those countries. A spokesperson confirmed, though, that – having talked to medical professionals – the royal couple decided to go all the same.
Meghan and Harry’s new baby, when he or she is born, will naturally join the line of succession. In fact, they’ll be seventh in line to the throne, just behind Harry. As a result, a girl will probably take the title of Lady upon birth and a boy the title of Earl. Unless, that is, the Queen grants a different title to her new great-grandchild. But one thing’s for certain: Harry and Meghan will make absolutely wonderful parents.